Anime Soundtrack Review: Naruto Final Best

Naruto Final Best is an 11-track CD that includes two opening themes and four ending themes for Naruto Shippuden, as well as five fan favorite selections of previous theme songs for the series. There is a bonus DVD that contains the textless versions of all the themes that appear on this release; however, since the DVD was manufactured for a Japanese audience, it is a Region 2 disc.

Naruto Final Best
Publisher: Aniplex
Release Date: December 13, 2017

The disc opens with Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s “Blood Circulator,” which was the 19th opening theme for the Naruto Shippuden anime. This is an upbeat track, and it’s a recognizable track for viewers who made it this far into the anime. It’s a perfect song to open the soundtrack. Yes, chronologically it belongs here, but it really is a great album opener.

Next is “Blue Lullaby” by Kuroneko Chelsea, and it’s the 37th ending theme for the series. It’s another upbeat track, which is a little on the surprising side. Generally, the ending themes for Naruto Shippuden tend to be either midtempos or ballads. But this is a nice change of pace for an ending theme.

This is followed by “Pino and Amelie” by Huwie Ishizaka, and it’s the 38th ending theme for the anime. This is a ballad and sounds more like what viewers expect from the series’ ending themes. It’s a more laid-back arrangement, which complements the male vocalist’s performance. It may not be upbeat or have a hook, there’s still something about this song that makes it stand out and be memorable for a listener who knows the anime.

Next is “Empty Heart” by Anly, which is the 20th opening theme for Naruto Shippuden. The a cappella opening grabs the listener, because it’s not something viewers expect from this anime’s opening themes. I like how the music kicks in, and how it complements the vocalist’s vocal performance. This, along with “Blood Circulator,” are among the more memorable opening themes from later in Naruo Shippuden’s run.

“Departure Song” by Ayumikurikamaki is the 39th ending theme for the series. This is one of the memorable ending themes from the later portion of the franchise. While I wouldn’t necessarily call this an upbeat song, it’s not entirely a midtempo, either. Regardless of its tempo, it’s rather catchy.

This is followed by “Absolutely” by Swimmy, and it’s the 40th ending theme for the anime. The hard part with this theme is that it’s rather flat and not memorable until you’re almost halfway through it. Once the chorus really kicked in, it was like, “Oh yeah, this one!” It’s a little disappointing that the series’ final theme isn’t immediately recognizable and catchy, that it takes a little bit for the hook to kick in.

The remaining five tracks were fan selected songs that appeared previously in the series. There were three opening themes from Naruto (“Far Away Distance” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, “Go!!!” by Flow, and “Namikaze Satellite” by Snorkel), as well as two opening themes for Naruto Shippuden (“Closer” by Joe Inoue and “Sign” by Flow).

Since the first Naruto theme song soundtrack (Naruto Best Hit Collection) was short, it was obvious that this final disc was going to be too short. However, I wish they had found other ways to pad it out than to include previously released theme songs. For example, there was what we refer to as “The Tailed Beast Counting Song” that appeared during Naruto Shippuden that could have been included. They also could have included some of the iconic score pieces (for example, the musical theme for the Akatsuki).

I can only truly recommend Naruto Final Best to fans of the franchise who want to own every opening and theme song that was recorded. In order to have all of the themes, though, you would have to buy the following soundtrack discs: Naruto Best Hit Collection, Naruto Best Hit Collection 2, Naruto Super Hits 2006-2008, Best Hit Naruto, Naruto Greatest Hits!!!!!, Naruto Super Sounds, and Naruto The Best. The best way to acquire these discs is to look around at sites that sell Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

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